"We have demonstrated that, by adding flexible linkers to protein molecules, we can form completely new types of aggregates. These aggregates can act as a structural material to which you can attach different payloads, such as drugs. In nature, this protein isn't close to being a structural material," said
The building blocks of the fibers are a few modified green fluorescent protein (GFP) molecules linked together using a process called click chemistry. An ordinary GFP molecule does not normally bind with other GFP molecules to form fibers. But when
"This was purely curiosity-driven and serendipity-driven work," Kowalewski said. "But where controlled polymerization and organic chemistry meet biology, interesting things can happen."
The research team observed the fibers using confocal light microscopy, confirmed their assembly using dynamic light scattering and studied their morphology using atomic force microscopy (AFM). They also observed that the fibers were fluorescent, indicating that the GFP molecules retained their 3-D structure while linked together.
To determine what processes were driving the self-assembly, Matyjaszewski and Kowalewski turned to
"Our protein-polymer system gives us an atomically precise, very well-defined nanoscale building object onto which we can attach different handles in very precisely defined positions. It can be used in a way that wasn't ever intended by biology," Kowalewski said.
In addition to Averick, Balazs, Kowalewski and Matyjaszewski, co-authors of the study include
TNS 18DejucosGrace-140801-30FurigayJane-4815740 30FurigayJane
Most Popular Stories
- Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury on Previously Unreleased Queen Cut
- 10 Things to Know About Alibaba
- Five Steps to Protect Yourself from Data Breaches
- Concur Sold to SAP for $8.3B
- Federal Probe Finds Christie Did Not Order 'Bridgegate'
- Intruder Gets into White House
- Chrysler Recalls Nearly 189,000 SUVs
- HCL America Adding 1,200 IT Jobs
- Medical Mfg. Jobs Coming to Dayton
- Longtime Unemployed to Get Help in Las Vegas